November 14, 2021
Georgia Faull, Nature Baby: Clothing with a purpose
Clothing with a purpose
In pregnancy, coffee can become a bit of a dirty word. We don’t want anyone who might be looking to avoid caffeine for a while missing out, so have worked hard to create our decaf blend, perfect for if you’re hapū.
Nature Baby has long been a supporter of our coffee, both decaf for parents-to-be and our caffeine brews for those long, sleepless nights or days spent wrangling energetic toddlers. We’re often the beverage of choice at their community events, and are thankful for their support.
The childrenswear label also shares many of our values; they make organic, sustainably made clothing and have stuck by their values since their launch in 1998. Georgia Faull co-founded the company with her husband Jacob, and is a long-time friend of Kōkako. The couple live in Grey Lynn with their three (now almost grown-up!) children, and still run the brand today.
Here, we chat to Georgia about launching the company back in the late 90s, living the brand, and her all-time favourite kids book.
When you started Nature Baby, sustainability was still a niche concept in business. How does it feel going from being the odd one out, to being a market leader?
We do get annoyed with the greenwashing that goes on, that’s a frustration for us. But obviously overall it’s a good shift in people’s consciousness and it’s good that it’s not such a weird, out-there thing anymore. It’s become more of the norm, so it attracts more people.
When you started the business, what were some of the founding principles that you were guided by, and ethics that you stayed true to?
We’ve always been design-led, so we were interested in sustainable design. We didn’t want to compromise around sustainability or ethical production. At that time, when we first started, what was available to us was quite limited because there just weren’t a lot of materials that we could use. But over time, more materials have become available to us, so that’s been great and we’ve been able to grow the business in that way.
How did the idea of Nature Baby come about?
It came about when we had our first baby and we were trying to find beautiful, organic products for our baby, but what was available at the time was quite limited and it just didn’t seem logical to be putting polyester and stuff on a newborn baby, which was literally what it was like at the time! That was 22 years ago now so things have changed a lot since then. We were thinking that if we wanted organic clothing items and bedding for our baby, then maybe there are other parents out there who would also like that.
Can you describe the community-building events that Nature Baby does, and why these are so important for new parents?
At Nature Baby, building inclusive community events is really a key focus. It’s wonderful to be able to connect like-minded individuals together, so that information can be shared and people can find community, especially as the early days of motherhood are well known to be quite bewildering and sometimes lonely. We are currently working on the ‘motherhood series’ published via our online journal where we interview inspiring mothers and find out more about their lives and different approaches to parenting.
In the past we’ve held live community events for mums and dads at the organic community Kelmarna Gardens where we’ve provided delicious, organic Kōkako coffee and organic treats.
How do you try and live the Nature Baby ethos in your personal life?
We love being in nature; we’re real beach and bush fanatics. We eat organic food, we have a vege garden and compost and those kinds of things. Our children were all brought up with cloth nappies and natural wooden toys… we’re not perfect but we live pretty true to the brand.
What do you feel are some important lessons about parenting that you’ve learnt over the years, or things you wish you knew yourself as a new mum?
I’ve had three children, so have experienced that what works with one child may not work with another, so it’s important to be very open-minded! However, time spent outside in nature for children and babies always works for calming them down and is an amazing learning environment too. As a parent, I have always valued rituals over routines, and it’s really important to remember how fast the time does fly; the days are long, but the years are short when you are a parent.
Do you have a favourite Nature Baby product that’s really stood the test of time?
The feedback that we always get with our clothing is that it goes through like five babies and it’s still fine. All the designs are pretty simple so that they don’t date and everything is designed to be circular and passed along.
How about your own children, did they have a favourite toy?
It was a wooden, push-along trolley. It’s a basic trolley that can become anything – it’s good for babies when they’re learning to walk, it can be an imaginary shopping cart, there’s lots of different ways of playing with it.
You sell so many incredible childrens’ books on Nature Baby’s website. Do you have any favourites that you think are so important for kids’ wellbeing and learning about the world?
The classic one and the one that’s always the most popular in our store is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Because it teaches children about the life cycle and nature and then it’s also got colours and counting.
Looking at the future, what other sustainability initiatives or steps is Nature Baby hoping to explore?
We’re currently further exploring the concept of ‘circularity’. We know Nature Baby is often passed along to friends and family, so we’re looking at how we can explore this concept more in a retail setting and communicate how important it is to buy better, so that products can have a full life cycle beyond just one child.
Another guiding principle is regeneration. Our goal as a business is not just to stop environmental harm, but actually leave the world in a better place than it was when we started.
You’ll find Nature Baby’s full collection here.
Just after this interview took place, Eric Carle, the beloved author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar passed away. We thank him for his brilliance and contribution to kids’ literature.
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